It has been a tough start to the opening of the 2018 season for the Lakeland University Muskies, and that continued on Saturday, as the team fell to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers, 49-12. The Pioneers scored 35 unanswered points to take command of this game as quarterback Colin Schuetz produced over 240 yards of offense and 3 touchdowns to lead the way. The Lakeland defense did record three interceptions and Larry Rivers rushed for 92 yards to lead the Muskies offense.
Lakeland would take the opening kickoff and move 61 yards to the UW-Platteville 22 where they were faced with a fourth and three. The coaching staff opted to go for it, but Charl’Tez Nunnery’s pass to Larry Rivers was incomplete, turning the ball over to the Pioneers.
Platteville made the most of the opportunity. They moved 78 yards in seven plays before finding the end zone. Colin Schuetz not only had a 17 yard gain on the ground, but completed three huge passes, including a 15 yarder to Mark Johnson that put the Pioneers on top 7-0.
The Muskies came right back to pull within one. Nunnery had the big play of the drive, a 33 yard completion to Christian Chatman that put the ball at the opposing 25. On first and 10 at the 13, Nunnery hooked up with Jamal Hawkins-Sconiers for the touchdown to pull Lakeland within a point.
The Pioneers took command of this contest, scoring five straight touchdowns. The first came with four seconds left in the first quarter. Starting from their own 40, UWP overcame a huge second and 25 at their own 25 when Brett Geisz completed an 11 yard pass to Donald Allender and Schuetz moved them a yard short with a 13 yard pass to Johnson. On fourth and 1, Schuetz kept the ball, gaining four yards and a first down. Three plays later, Schuetz found a wide open Allender for a 31 yard touchdown to make it 14-6.
The Muskies would mount a 14 play drive that put them at the Pioneers 15, but would again turn the ball over on downs. Back the other way UW-Platteville went, moving 85 yards in 10 plays before extending their lead to 15. Schuetz had a huge 22 yard completion to Johnson on third and 10 and completed two passes, one to Johnson for 16 and one to Tyler Knigge for 9, when the team was faced with a first and 25. Evan Gates completed the drive with a 17 yard run for a touchdown.
On the Muskies next drive, the team was forced to punt, but the ball went over the head of the punter and he was tackled at the nine. Two plays later, Schuetz scored from four yards out to make it 28-6.
UW-Platteville took the opening kickoff of the second half and would score again. In 11 plays, the Pioneers moved 54 yards. Gates scored from two yards out to make it 35-6.
With a little over a minute left in the third, the lead became 36. With Brett Geisz at quarterback, he completed a 27 yard pass to Tim Jansen to put the ball at the Lakeland five. Gates finished the drive with his third touchdown of the game to make it 42-6.
The Muskies would finally break the streak, scoring a minute into the fourth quarter. Running back Larry Rivers led the way, including gaining 23 yards on a huge second and 10 carry. Logan O’Neill completed the drive with a 22 yard touchdown pass to Chatman to make it 42-12.
The Pioneers responded with a five play, 59 yard touchdown that finished off the scoring. Ke’Von Johnson had a 47 yard run to the Lakeland 12. Geisz scored three plays later to make it 49-12.
Colin Schuetz finished 13 for 24 for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. Schuetz also had 47 yards rushing and a TD. Evan Gates had 17 carries for 79 yards and 3 touchdowns. Clayton Becker and Cole Whalen each recorded 1.5 sacks for the Pioneers.
The Muskies were led by Washington Vivanco on defense, who had 13 tackles, and Albert Journet, who had 9 tackles and 2 sacks. He also had an interception. Larry Rivers had 20 carries for 92 yards.
The Lakeland University Muskies will open the NACC conference next week, welcoming Concordia University. Kickoff is at 1:00.
By Robert Pannier